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Adoption Advocate No. 38: Race and Identity in Transracial Adoption: Suggestions for Adoptive Parents

November 27, 2011 Comments off

Adoption Advocate No. 38: Race and Identity in Transracial Adoption: Suggestions for Adoptive Parents
Source: National Council for Adoption

Transracial adoption, once rare in this country, has grown significantly since the 1950s, primarily due to the rise of intercountry adoption. Intercountry adoption peaked in 2004, when more than 22,000 foreign-born children – the majority of them nonwhite – were adopted by American families. Despite a recent and continued decline in the number of intercountry adoptions, this trend, together with transracial domestic infant and foster care adoptions, accounts for the large and growing number of American families that are multiracial by adoption.

Transracial and transcultural adoption, now commonplace in America, raises a set of complex and sometimes controversial issues in adoption practice and policy. While the federal Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA) makes it illegal to prevent an adoption based solely on the race of the child or adoptive parents, transracial adoption has its detractors as well as supporters, and a number of people question whether it is in the best interests of children of color to allow them to be adopted by white parents.

NCFA affirms transracial adoption as a means of providing children with what they need and deserve above all else: a loving family of their own. No matter what type of adoption is being considered – domestic infant, intercountry, or adoption from foster care – each adoption case should be evaluated based on what is in the best interest of the individual child in question. For many children who have been orphaned or abandoned, or removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect, transracial adoption may represent their only chance at securing a safe, loving, and permanent family of their own. A longtime and principled advocate for intercountry, foster care, and domestic infant adoption reform, NCFA believes that there is no “one size fits all” solution to the plight of the staggering numbers of children worldwide who lack families of their own. It is the position of NCFA that intercountry and transracial adoption should remain a part of a holistic, complete, and well-rounded child welfare policy – one that must also include services to help keep struggling families intact whenever possible, as well as the development of domestic adoption programs within those countries that have large numbers of orphaned or abandoned children – in order to help as many children as possible find the love and permanency they deserve in a timely manner.

This issue of the Adoption Advocate is by no means intended to serve as a complete or exhaustive resource for families that are considering or planning a transracial adoption; the issues surrounding transracial adoption are many and complex, and as such can always warrant further exploration. With this article, NCFA hopes to contribute to the broader, ongoing discussion of issues in transracial adoption, and offer a few suggestions for prospective adoptive families as well as those already parenting transracially adopted children.

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